One For The Boys
I recently read an article which highlighted something I have been concerned about for many years. The article was based on research conducted by Professor Alan White, Director of the Centre for Men’s Health at Leeds Metropolitan University, and a leading men’s health expert. Professor White was asked by the European Commission to look at the state of men’s health, and his findings paint a picture of issues across the whole of Europe.
The report he produced distilled data taken from 34 European countries, and showed some patterns which are expected to have a positive influence on men’s health policy in the region.
Given my interest and concern over the last 10 years, I wasn’t surprised that he found that poor lifestyle choices and other preventable risk factors account for illness and even premature death in men. But these findings are also heartening because it means that the perceived health disadvantages men face are not entirely genetic, and that they can be remedied in part by targeted policies and actions.
Other key findings from the report relate to higher rates of death because of men’s riskier lifestyles, and the fact that they remain under-informed about health issues. This is something which particularly concerns me. Women’s magazines positively buzz with information about health and fitness, and whole sections are regularly given over to questions and answers relating to medical problems, diseases and tests available on the NHS. There are not as many men’s magazines, and their focus tends to be different. Men can also be reluctant to seek medical advice which may result in more advanced disease progression at the time of detection.
Professor White welcomed that the findings will have major implications for every country in Europe as they impact on health, social care and economic prosperity. Hopefully this will be a catalyst for change because he found that even countries with the best health outcomes still had significant numbers of premature deaths as well as substantial gaps between the health of men in the most and least affluent environments.